A walking contradiction, teenager Amy Jones loves Strictly Come Dancing and reading Orwell; she’s bright but her grammar is terrible. But she’s electric, and fighting for change. Emma Packer performs earnestly and with zeal, cleverly weaving two very different but connected tales of injustice.
With a profound love for Mandela, Martin Luther King and Gandhi, non-conformist Amy rages against the injustices of the wider world whilst simultaneously combating her own life trapped with an abusive mother. Her passion for changing society for the better cracks every now and then, giving a glimpse of Amy’s fear of her mum: the lights dim ominously, she starts shaking uncontrollably, eyes welling up. And then with a jolt, the lights are up and she’s off on another tirade about MPs who claim for silk sheets while their constituents sleep on the streets.
Set against a sea of recent and past controversies like the London riots, the phone hacking scandal, war, the credit crunch and the MPs’ expenses scandal, Packer astutely points out the ways in which we may be being swindled by the powers that be. This social commentary represents a youth disillusioned by an increasingly disconnected Tory government and an insidious mass media. It also connects the personal with the political, when Amy’s escape route from her mother to her father’s house is blocked by the 7/7 London bombings.
At first the exaggerated south London accent and rhyming couplet form of the monologue feels a bit jarring, even irritating. However it does become slightly easier to settle into the rhythm of it as the piece unfolds and Packer soon makes us fall for Amy with her wit and shrewd observations.
What Ctrl+Alt+Delete tells us is undoubtedly true, but it doesn’t really tell us anything new. Where the piece truly succeeds is in weaving the political with Amy’s personal story. A tad petulant at times, Amy is nevertheless the underdog that triumphs in this intelligent and highly relevant piece. You’ll be rooting for her all the way.
Ctrl+Alt+Delete plays at Zoo Southside until 24 August 2014 as part of the Edinburgh Fringe. For more information and tickets visit the EdFringe website.